Sunday, July 8, 2012

So Where Are We?

I have been remiss in posting due to the demands that summer puts on our shoulders and wanted to get another post up before August!

Which is our Shop Hop month; Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler! Can you believe it's now our eighth? Well, which ever number it is, it's always looked forward to with great anticipation from all of us who work at Bright Hopes. We love the excitement the quilters bring in with them, seeing old friends and enjoy meeting new people.

In the years past, each shop made individual quilts using the same theme; for example one year it was "Christmas!" and last year, Black and White with Crayons.

 This year, the participating shops have decided to create unique quilts with no unifying theme. Look for each on display and see what we came up with. Pearl's quilt is finished and beautiful! We'll be hanging it shortly and when that happens, I'll post a photo of it here on the blog.

Meanwhile, if you get our newsletters, you know the weekly happenings at the shop. You know we have shelves n bolts of Christmas fabric and some wonderful new books. We are focusing in on the Modern quilt and are seeing some fine examples come through the doors. While traditional quilts will remain a strong force, it cannot be denied that fabrics and quilt designs have been wandering off the reservation recently.

Additionally, more and more people are investing in their own quilting machine. No, not necessarily the huge Gammills but what I refer to as a modified long-arm. It's not impossible to quilt a large top with a standard sewing machine but it is far easier on one that is made especially for quilting.

However, once the machine is home and sitting there, the question comes up, "What design should I use?"

You've probably mastered the meandering line and loop-d-loops. Are you tentative about trying feathers and shapes?
Obviously, the answer is "One that complements the quilt itself." but then what? If you are stumped by this question, here are two books that might provide some answers.

Okay, simple feathers really are a lot of fun to quilt but starting off is beyond daunting. Once you get the hang of it, they are down-right addicting but eventually you will want to move to the next level and here is where this book by Peggy Holt comes in. She shows you how to look at the space which will be filled with a design and then create the feather-shapes that will live there. The feathers in this book are complicated and intriguing but very do-able, when you know how!

 She shows you how to fill borders and create mirror-images. As you can see from the cover above, she combines open airy feathers with dense filler to create a very sophisticated finish... a very good book for your collection.

Next, we have Free-Motion Quilting with Angela Walters. This is a terrific book filled with quilting lines with the modern quilt in mind but don't let that dissuade you from checking it out. The designs inside this book are universal and, more importantly, actually do-able.

I can't tell you how many times I have stood in amazement staring at a quilt and wondering how the quilter made such straight lines or where she hid the thread and what inspired that particular motif. I get lots of ideas from quilt shows and am not ashamed to ask if I can steal this or that for my own future use.

But then, I struggle with the idea that each line must be perfect and not knowing how they do it. I guess I always will but this book helps me understand the how and then brings out the maverick in me.  It also inspires me to practice a new line and with each quilt behind me, I grow more confident in my ability.

 It kills me to see on Page 40 how she took the meandering motif to a whole new exciting look and I marvel at why I didn't think of that!! And the way she mixes up two totally separate designs to make a new one is eye-opening.
It is brilliant. If you have to choose only one book to reach for, give this one a flip-through and see for yourself. I can't wait to see what Ms. Walters comes up with next.

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